The Costs of War: The Impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Italian Postwar Politics

  • John A. Davis
Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750–1850 book series (WCS)


From 1796 until the fall of Napoleon’s Empire in 1815 the public and private lives of many, perhaps most, Italians were filled with war, rumours of war and preparation for war. While they cannot be compared with twentieth-century experiences of ‘total war’, the impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars on the security, economies, politics, lives and culture of Italians of all classes was considerable. However, measuring the impact of war is complicated. War was experienced more often indirectly than directly, affecting different social groups in different ways, while the consequences that are specific to war are not easily distinguished from the broader burdens imposed by the imperial project. Bearing these qualifications in mind, this chapter will begin by considering the human and material costs of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Italy. It will then explore the many different ways in which the experiences and memories of war weighed on Italian politics and political culture, from the closing years of Empire (1812–1815), including the Legitimist Restorations (1814–1815), to the liberal revolutions of 1820–1821 and their aftermath.1


Italian State Secret Society Army Officer Spanish Constitution French Republic 
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© John A. Davis 2016

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  • John A. Davis

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